Does Mold in the Basement Affect Upstairs?

You’ve found mold in the basement. It happens to many of us. Perhaps it’s only a patch, or maybe it’s a significant spread. Either way, you’re wondering what to do about it.

If mold has managed to grown without you noticing, it’s likely that you don’t use the basement that often.

You may find yourself thinking: just how important it is to remove what’s there? Surely a problem in the basement is just that? A problem in the basement.

Does Mold in the Basement Affect Upstairs

You might be surprised to learn the affect basement mold can have on the rest of your house.

By allowing mold in the basement, you could be harming both your own health, and the health of your family.

Does mold in the basement affect upstairs?

Yes, mold in the basement affects the upstairs. Mold spores are able to travel through the air and infect the air supply. This means every time you open your basement door, the mold can travel through into the rest of the house.

This doesn’t mean the solution is to simply shut the basement door. When the basement is sealed up, the mold is able to grow better.

Without its air supply being regularly disturbed, the mold has dust to feed on and moisture to grow in. When you inevitably have to open the door again, the mass of mold spores are once again let in to the main house.

Mold spores are also able to stick to your clothing, hair, and skin. No matter how rarely you went into the basement, any time you do go down you would again be collecting mold spores. When you then walk back through the house, you deposit the spores as you go.

Not to mention, any mold on the basement can also stick to items in the basement. If you use your basement for storage, when those items come out of storage they may bring the mold with them.

It might not necessarily be on the items themselves, but clinging to the cardboard box they’re kept in. Mold from the basement can distribute throughout the house in ways you may not expect.

Even if you could guarantee that you would never open your basement door, mold still travels. This is because of the stack effect.

What is the stack effect?

The stack effect refers to the way air travels through your home. Hot air rises, so as the air warms it travels up and through the house, before eventually leaving via the roof.

As the old air leaves, new air rises up to fill the space left behind. Air circulation should be good for the house, as it regulates temperature, and removes impurities.

However, in a house already infected with mold, as the air travels up the mold travels with it. When old air circulates out of the house, it’s replaced with the new, rising air from the basement. This is the air that’s contaminated with mold spores. As it rises, the mold will rise as well. 

So, even if you know you never have to open the door to the basement, the air, and with it the mold, escapes anyway.

Should I worry about mold in the basement?

If you have mold in the basement you should remove it. For small stains mold can be removed relatively quickly with water and dish soap. For large areas of growth, you should contact professional services.

As long as you deal with it quickly, you don’t need to start panicking. However, mold can cause health conditions, or exacerbate pre-existing conditions. 

If you have mold in the basement it’s a sign of poor ventilation, and possibly water leaks. These are problems that need to be fixed, as they’re unlikely to be only affecting the basement. If there’s mold in your basement it’s possible for mold to be growing elsewhere in your house.

A rarely visited basement is generally being used for storage. If you keep important documents, old furniture, or precious keepsakes in a moldy basement, they can become damaged.

It may seem like leaving the mold alone isn’t causing any harm, but down the line you’ll find things you thought were kept safe have become infected.

By solving the mold problem when it first appears, you’re saving yourself from a much harder task in the future.

Can mold in one room affect the whole house?

Yes, mold in one room can affect the whole house. Mold can travel through the air, and the air doesn’t stay still in one room.

If you find mold in one room it’s possible for it to travel into other rooms, and grow there as well.

Mold spores are also able to attach to clothing. As you move from room to room, you may be bringing mold with you.